HAMID KAMARA, also known as Abdul Karim Kamara, also known as Abdul Kamara, also known as Abdul Karin Kamara, also known as Karim Abdul Kamara, Petitioner
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL, Respondent
Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Hamid Kamara, also known as: Abdul Karim Kamara, also known as: Abdul Kamara, also known as: Abdul Karin Kamara, also known as: Karim Abdul Kamara, Petitioner: Brian Vincent Schaeffer, YMCA International Services, Houston, TX.
For Eric H. Holder, Jr., U.S. Attorney General, Respondent: Justin Robert Markel, Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC; Tangerlia Cox, Joseph D. Hardy Jr., Esq., Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC.
Before JONES, BARKSDALE, and PRADO, Circuit Judges.
JONES, Circuit Judge:
Petitioner Hamid Kamara (" Kamara" ) seeks review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' (" BIA" ) order affirming the Immigration Judge's (" IJ" ) finding that he lacked derivative United States citizenship under former 8 U.S.C. § 1432(a)(3). We hold that the BIA misinterpreted the reach of this court's decision in Bustamante-Barrera v. Gonzales, 447 F.3d 388 (5th Cir. 2006), which requires " sole legal custody" only when an alien minor's parents have a joint custody order following divorce or judicial separation. We GRANT the petition and TRANSFER pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1252(b)(5)(B) to the district court for the judicial district in which Kamara resides.
Kamara was born in Sierra Leone on May 7, 1981. On July 16, 1990, Kamara's parents were divorced in Texas. According to the divorce decree, the Texas court made no child custody provision because Kamara and his siblings " reside in Sierra Leone[,] West Africa [with their father] and have never been to Texas." In April 1991, Kamara came to the United States as a visitor and became a lawful permanent resident on May 10, 1994,
based on a visa petition filed by his mother, Theresa Nuhad Kargbo. On February 20, 1998, Kargbo became a naturalized citizen of the United States; Kamara was sixteen years old at the time. Kamara and Kargbo asserted in affidavits that they had lived together from 1991 to 2000. School records also reflect Kamara's presence in the United States during that time.
In August 2000, Kamara was convicted in a Texas state court of unlawfully carrying a weapon and received a sentence of three days in jail. He was also convicted of possession of marijuana, which resulted in 30 days in jail; and abandoning or endangering a child and theft, which resulted in a 10-month sentence.
Kamara was detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (" ICE" ) and placed in removal proceedings in 2009. The immigration judge terminated the case without prejudice on the belief that Kamara may have been a derivative United States citizen and instructed Kamara to file an N-600 citizenship form with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (" USCIS" ). USCIS denied the N-600. Kamara appealed to the Administrative Appeals Office, which denied Kamara's appeal due to insufficient evidence.
In October 2011, ICE mailed a Notice to Appear to Kamara, alleging that he was removable on the basis of the firearm offense. After the proceedings languished in the immigration court, Kamara filed his Motion to Terminate Removal Proceedings in June 2013 on the ground that he is a U.S. citizen. Kamara maintained that the proper standard for derivative citizenship was whether he had been in his mother's " actual uncontested custody" before his eighteenth birthday. The Government did not dispute that Kargbo had physical custody of Kamara, but argued that the Fifth Circuit required a higher standard. The IJ, concluding that he was bound by ...